Vinessa Shaw

Active - 1957 - 2021  |   Born - Jul 19, 1976 in Los Angeles, California, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Mystery

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

Fair-haired teen model cum versatile actress Vinessa Shaw has made her mark playing everything from sexy siren to innocent angel, though her breakthrough role came as a mixture of both with her turn as a sympathetic prostitute in director Stanley Kubrick's final film, Eyes Wide Shut (1999).

Born in California in July of 1976, Shaw began her career in show business early in childhood, though her big break came with her casting in the 1992 Rodney Dangerfield comedy Ladybugs. Soon appearing in such efforts as Hocus Pocus the following year and in the television series Fallen Angels and McKenna shortly after, Shaw made a memorable appearance in the girl-tames-wild horse-coming-of-age story Coyote Summer before her affable prostitute loaned Tom Cruise's character a little understanding in Eyes Wide Shut. Shaw took on a large role in the made-for-television miniseries The '70s in 2000 and made an appearance in Saturday Night Live alumni Chris Kattan's comedy Corky Romano in 2001.

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  • Has Russian Jewish, Italian, Irish, English, German, Mexican, Dutch, French and Swedish ancestry.
  • Was named Vinessa, spelled with an "i" instead of "a" like the traditional name Vanessa as a variation of her grandfather's name, Vincent.
  • Was raised Buddhist.
  • Made her film debut in the 1981 Thanksgiving-set slasher movie Home Sweet Home.
  • Is a facilitator of SGI-USA, a support network for Nichiren Buddhism practitioners, and a worldwide Buddhist movement for peace, education and cultural exchange.